The Sixth European Congress of the Christian Family Movement took place last week at the Archabbey of Pannonhalma in Hungary. The keynote speaker, Bishop László Bíró, explained to participants that families must rediscover their values in order to pass the faith onto others.
The conference, which had the theme, “The renewal of Europe through the spiritual renewal of families,” was attended by 560 people ranging from children to the elderly. The participants came from countries such as Hungary, Spain, Italy, Slovakia, Portugal, Malta, Norway, Thailand, Japan and the U.S.
One organizer, Krisztina Menesi explained to CNA that the conference takes place every three years and has been held in recent years in Valencia, Spain; Zagreb, Croatia and Prague, Czech Republic.
The conference’s main talks were given by Bishop László Bíró who explained that spiritual renewal is necessary in order to evangelize society: “Spiritual renewal means starting again from Jesus Christ. It means rediscovering our values: the institution and the sacrament of marriage, the biblical image of man and the domestic church. It is the authentic realization of these values in our lives and the overflow of this life and faith that make it possible for us to pass on faith to others.”
He continued, “This is our mission, a responsibility for each one of us, within the family and, through the family, in society."
A highlight for many attendees was daily Mass in the 1,000 year-old Basilica of Pannonhalma celebrated by Bishop Bíró along with priests from all over the world. Participants were able to join the Benedictine monks for their prayers at various times throughout the day. Other activities included listening to classical music, wine tasting and dancing.
Menesi noted that the families left the conference with a deeper understanding of faith, hope and joy. She described the experience as, “the joy of belonging together in Christ, of being signs of Love and Life despite all we see in today's world, the joy of being strengthened by the presence of so many families with the same faith and values.”
The next European Congress will be held in Slovakia in 2012.